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The Newtown, Connecticut murders and Firefighter Stress

I haven’t talked about the murders here on IronFiremen.com yet. Like many, I’m still trying to understand this horrific event. I’m not even sure what to say yet … what can you say?

I’ve watched a lot of the news and read several of the articles / stories. I was glad to see that tonight, at least some of the media got it right. Tonight, they quit interviewing kids and parents. They quit with the unbearable questions.

For what I’m sure will be a short lived period, they turned the cameras off the survivors / mourners and listed the names of those murdered.

To me, this should have been done much earlier (with respect to the families etc). I say that because the name of their murderer was up quickly. Every station had it up in bold. His name and picture.

I could care less about him. He’s not important to me. We will never know his motive or reasoning and there’s no reason to speculate. We can’t ask or beat it out of him. He took the cowards way out and died a much too easy death.

Here’s the thing … he will be remembered. His name and face was imprinted into our heads before we knew the victims. It’s still happening. They (mainstream media) are already posting his picture and making comparisons with other recent mass murderers ( Virginia Tech, Denver etc). His name could (and likely will) become more recognizable than his victims and that’s sad.

THAT’S WHO WE SHOULD BE REMEMBERING … THE VICTIMS.

Here are the names (and ages) of those we should remember. Don’t forget or lose them in the ensuing media circus ….

Mary Sherlach, 56; Dawn Lafferty Hochsprung, 47; Lauren Rousseau, 30; Victoria Soto, 27; Olivia Engel, 6; Emilie Parker, 6; Rachel Davino, 29; Anne Marie Murphy, 25; Charlotte Bacon, 6; Daniel Barden, 7; Josephine Gay, 7; Ana Marquez-Greene, 6; Dylan Hockley, 6; Madeleine Hsu, 6; Catherine Hubbard, 6; Chase Kowalski, 7; Jesse Lewis, 6; James Mattioli, 6; Grace McDonnell, 7; Anne Marie Murphy, 52; Jack Pinto, 6; Noah Pozner, 6; Caroline Previdi, 6; Jessica Rekos, 6; Avielle Richman, 6; Benjamin Wheeler, 6; Allison Wyatt, 6.

I also hope the first responders are not lost or forgotten in the media’s search for “who” and “why”.

The Police, Fire and Rescue members who responded to the scene.

I don’t even want to imagine what they encountered. I can’t. Dave Statter had Police and Fire radio traffic up early. I’ll add the link …

 Sandy Hook radio traffic HERE

I’m certain their lives will be changed forever. I’ve thought of their pain everyday since the shootings.

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What I haven’t seen or heard about yet is how those Brothers and Sisters are holding up.

I’m sure there are Counseling Units / Services on site and that they will remain for some time. I’m not sure it will be enough.

Again I’ll say that this was a life altering event / incident.

From what I can tell, Newtown is a relatively “small” town / community. It is the 5th largest “Town” in Connecticut at only 60.38 sq miles.

Newtown Connecticut web site HERE 

Sandy Hook is a Borough within Newtown. It was the Sandy Hook Fire Station that was shown so much in the media coverage.

Early in the incident, the station was used as a staging / assembling area. I would imagine that like with most small town Departments, the station was a familiar, comforting place for the community.

Sandy Hook has 2 Stations, 8 pieces and over 60 members. I haven’t heard how many member’s children attended the elementary school if any.

Sandy Hook Vol. Fire & Rescue Co. web site

Please keep these Brothers and Sisters in your thoughts and prayers as well. I would imagine that the population of Sandy Hook and Newtown has tripled with the sudden influx of media etc. That means that the possibility exists for the call volume of Fire, Rescue and Police to increase as well. They could be busier now than ever before and at a time when they can least afford it.

While I’m on the subject, let me say that this season (Thanksgiving / Christmas) is typically the worst for us on the job.

For whatever reason, we seem to see a lot of fire in these months and we tend to see an increase in suicides as well.

It’s supposed to be a time for family. A time of peace and joy but that’s not always the reality we see out here in the streets.

We never get called out because something “good” is happening but, at this time of year; it’s maybe a little more difficult see and deal with.

FireChief.com is reporting that Firefighting is the second most stressful job in the Nation and I think this is our most stressful season.

READ Firefighting the Second-Most Stressful Job in the Nation, White Paper Reports 

As Company Officers, it’s our responsibility to take care of our members and that includes AFTER the call. Make sure you understand and recognize the signs of stress. Also make sure your members know that they have a place to “go” … someone to confide in and “talk” to.

Here are some links that may be helpful ….

Stay SAFE and in House!

Captain Wines

 

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  • Pingback: The Newtown, CT Tragedy and others like it. How do Firefighters, EMT’s, and Police Officers Cope? | The Fire Critic()

  • Betsy

    Thank you, Captain, for this insightful post. My heart breaks for the families who have lost loved ones, as well as those who were in the school and lived through this horror. As a long time EMS provider (long enough to have been there when Dave Statter was a young reporter in DC), the thing that weighs heavy on my mind is the health and welfare of those first responders. It doesn’t matter how many mass casualty trainings we have in our careers or how many times we practice active shooter scenerios…There is NOTHING that can prepare us for what happened in Newtown. I know the brotherhood will support all of the responders, whether Fire, EMS, Police, Dispatchers, etc – because it’s what we do for a brother or sister in need. I just pray they are able to continue to see the value of their service to the community they serve and can heal from these atrocities. And if someone is struggling to deal with this, that they allow others to help them.